Paddy Withana removed?
Posted on March 16th, 2017
Dr Sarath Obeysekera
I am not surprised .Government does not like efficient people ?
See my article published some time back
THERE ARE ONLY TWO ACTIVITIES PERFORMING WELL IN THIS COUNTRY GENERATING MUCH NEEDE FOREIGN CURRENCY
One is tourism
Other one is labour migration ??
Both doing well because they are run by more responsible people?
All of you may have read news items and heard speeches made by the Prime Minister about tourism which can be developed if we have Marina s right-around the island .Government has given priority to developing Marinas in Colombo Port City and Galle Port . Colombo by Chinese and other one in Galle hopefully by Indians .
We acquired a land bordering Galle Harbour away from the beach with a foreign investment from UK and propose to build 22 storey building with entertainment, lodging for Yacht owners, residential apartments suitable for well-to-do Yacht owners. We were ignorant about a rule imposed by the government related to the height of such development near the coastal belt .and designed the building to have 22 storeys with a view of recovering the land cost and total investment cost .
An application was made to the One Stop Shop in the Tourist Board to coordinate the cumbersome approval process. ( Sate should use Agency for Strategic Development ) .In few days a letter came to us informing that no development over six floor are allowed facing the coast .We explained that the development is not facing the coast but the harbour, and yet they informed that the rule imposed by the government prevails .Application was also made to UDA asking their preliminary approval ,and it is over three months ,UDA is yet to approve that the height of 22 storeys is permitted .
So, I called Tourist Board Director General’s office to make an appointment and the secretary picked my call asking me the reason for my meeting .After listening to my explanation ,she said that he is in a meeting.
.I gave my telephone number, and she was reluctant to take my number and asked me to call back , and on my firm insistence she wrote down the number.
( I mentioned that the Minister wanted me to meet DG)
Then I called the telephone number of the Chairman’s office of the Tourist Board ,and a young male voice answered .I gave my name and requested a time to meet the Chairman .It was 9 am and the man checked the diary of the Chairman ( later found that he is one Paddy Withana ),to come at 11 30 same day .
Little later DG ‘s office calls me and wanted to connect me with DG ,First question was “ What is the Problem?”
( Do people call heads of department only if there is a problem ? Right question would have been “What can I do for you ?”)
I explained my issue and he immediately said the there is a cabinet decisions related to the height restriction and it cannot be changed ,I explained that it is not a hotel ,but a accommodation for Yacht Owners and other people who may patronize the Galle Marina ,he said the he will look in to the file and come back
He never came back until and after I met the chairman on the same day even after .
I was quite surprised to see that the Chairman was so polite and helpful to me in solving my problem and promised to give full support .He even called the relevant directors of the Tourist Board to the meeting and watched my presentation and guided me on how to proceed.
This is the way head of an organization should help the people to develop tourism.
I am writing about this incident, to prove the fact that Tourism is growing because the board is headed by a chairman who knows how to do business ??
Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau may be of the same calibre ( hopefully)
I am still waiting for the call from DG, who has a surname of a powerful minister. I wonder whether he is a relative of the minister.
Dr Sarath Obeysekera